Tips for Winterizing Outside Faucets and Gutters

Category: Green Clean

Gutter & Downspout Maintenance

Gutters and downspouts are designed to move rainwater and snowmelt away from your home. They must be kept cleaned and in place to ensure that they work effectively, including gutters with guards.

But what happens when you don’t winterize your outside faucets or gutters? Excess rainwater and snowmelt can spill against walls and windows and saturate the home’s foundation, causing foundation, gutter and downspout damage.

At Green Clean, our Minnesota-based restoration experts have seen a lot of things in a variety of homes and commercial properties. As a result, we are happy to offer some guidance in this area.

How to Protect Outside Gutters and Faucets in the Winter

Follow these steps to safeguard your gutters and downspouts from the blistering cold so that they continue operating correctly.


Time needed: 1 to 2 hours

Frequency: each year in the fall

Number of steps: 3

Tools Needed: ladder, goggles or safety glasses, rubber gloves, small scoop or garden shovel, garden hose with spray attachment

STEP 1: Locate Key Areas

  • Locate all gutters, downspouts and downspout extensions. Most homes with gutters have several downspouts, either plastic or metal.

STEP 2: Plan Ahead for Maintenance

  • Assemble tools that you will need and create a safe workplace. If you are unfamiliar with ladder use or safety, contact a qualified professional.

STEP 3: Keep them Clean

  • Clean debris from gutters and downspouts. Be careful not to damage gutters or downspouts with ladder or tools. Wear rubber gloves and use a small scoop or garden shovel if necessary. Wash smaller pieces away using a garden hose with spray attachment.
  • During dry periods, small animals will build their homes inside of downspouts and extensions. Check occasionally to make sure they are clear.

Outside Water Faucets

You can prevent water damage to your home by winterizing outside faucets each fall.  Winter temperatures can freeze the water that is trapped in outside faucets and pipe connections.

If you are wondering whether your outside faucets should be left open or closed in winter, turning off the water supply to outside faucets is the best way to prevent this problem.

Time Needed: 30 minutes

Frequency: each fall

Number of Steps: 3 to 4

Tools Needed: small pail or container, stool or ladder, towel, pliers, crescent wrench

STEP 1: Locate Outside Faucets

  • Locate all outside faucets — there is a separate shutoff valve inside of each outside faucet.

STEP 2: Locate Inside Shutoff Valves

  • Inside valves have similar handles but may be painted different colors. Inside valves will also have a small cap used for draining excess water from the pipe to the outside faucet.

STEP 3: Turn off water

  • Turn off water at inside valves by turning the handle clockwise. Next, open outside water faucets. Drain excess water inside by opening the drain cap with pliers, holding a pail underneath to catch water. When water stops draining, close the drain cap and slightly snug (DO NOT OVER-TIGHTEN!!) with pliers. Close outside faucets.

Certified, Locally Owned Restoration Company

Learning what to do with winterizing outside faucets and gutters is one thing, and maybe you want to do that yourself. That’s fine. But if you find yourself overwhelmed or in need of restoration services for your Minneapolis area home or commercial property, contact Green Clean. Our IICRC certified experts can remove your water damage and restore your space to a healthy environment.

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